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The water like a sheet of snow
Amidst the pealing thunder's sound. The description of the appearance of morning, as viewed from the seashore, has considerable merit; and the Periphrasis for a ship, in the closing lines, is novel, poetical and elegant.
Gay beam'd the morn—a brighter sun
Along its dark and hastening tide.' This poem, when rightly considered, affords us no small cause for gratulation,-more indeed for what it indicates, than what it is. It proves that well-directed education of the most valued kind, is doing its good work among us,-it shows that there is a species of female improvement springing up, that depends, not upon charming the eye, or delighting the ear,—whose exertions are not cut up by the roots, from added years, a lame foot, an ailing finger or a heavy cold; but whose influence and advantage are co-extensive with life itself, and when accident or age sweep away all but the faded recollections of other accomplishments, they add force and value to lettered cultivation. It is a national object of deep and general interest, that the education of the female sex should be carefully improved, and their talents diligently encouraged. The manners of women have a most decisive influence on society, by moulding the minds of the young, restraining and polishing the adult, and ministering, with “ angel grace," comfort and consolation to age. Surely those duties must be performed, with an effect proportioned to the intellectual improvement of the agent. Narrow must be the intelligence, and unenviable the sentiment of that sceptic who hesitates, on the national necessity of female education.
Art. XI. Fany. Second Edition. New-York. Wiley and
Halsted. 1821. pp. 68.
Who has not read Fanny ?—both the first and the second editions of it—that delightful bagatelle, which some unknown but highly favoured protege of the Muses has brought out, to turn care into mirth, gravity into light-heartedness, ennui into self complacency, and pride, pedantry, affectation, extravagance, folly, and the first society-into fun.
We are not without apprehension that the notice we take of it, will be deemed by some, a matter of supererogation ; inasmuch as its popularity has already, anticipated all the encomiums, which, in our stern and censorial character, it could be supposed we should be at liberty to pass, on the frolic fancies of this son of Apollo. We shall not, however, suffer any fears on this point to overcome the consciousness of what belongs to our “high calling ;” nor permit, by our silence, an inference to be drawn, that we do not think some additional importance will be attached to a book, from its receiving at our hands, "recorded honours."
Brief as it is, we met with some embarrassments in its perusal, which we shall notify to our readers. Our earliest and virgin copy of the second edition,--without a cover on, and before it was half read-strayed somehow insensibly away from our critical fingers, into the fair and favourite hand of youth, taste, intelligence and beauty. We forthwith ordered another copy, which was captured in our library, almost as soon as it reached there, by a fine, good-hearted country syavan, who said, as he coolly rolled it up and consigned it to his pocket, that he had fallen in love with Fanny, from the “ expectations," which beamed upon her in the first edition; and he was anxious to know what effect her “misfortunes," set forth in the second, would have upon his passion. Another copy was then procured, but before we had an opportunity to cut the leaves, a literary friend who was on the point of sailing for England, called to bid us “good by,” and saying he had no time to go to the publishers, craved leave to take it, to amuse the passengers on the voyage; adding, that on his arrival in London, he would despatch it to Lord Byron, at Venice, just to let him know that we could give out the poetic fling on this side of the water, in as fine and careless a style as the wits “t'other side the ferry,”—and with better morals, than are displayed in his Beppo and Don Juan.
The Fanny, of the first edition was furnished by the appropriating sagacity and the sensitive fears of the day, with sundry
local habitions,” and a variety of “names.” She was decidedly recognised one evening, at a very famous tea party, un
der circumstances which left do doubt of her identity :-she was also reported to us, by one of the philosophicals, to have been at that very time, listening to Griscom's evening lecture on Astronomy-while we ourselves fancied, that it was no less a personage than this self-same expectant heiress, whom at that identical moment we were watching, as she threaded the mazes of a cotillion, at one of the City Hotel Publics. Fanny's father too by the same sort of appropriating legerdemain became, like Mrs. Malaprop’s Cerberus, “three gentlemen at once.” He was observed throwing an intent and business-like glance at “ Lang's Bulletin," which a fresh arrival had loaded with news; and yet it was insisted by one, that he was sitting at that very time, with a board of Insurance directors; and by another, that he had but then passed him, at the court end of Wall-street, doffing his beaver to Mr. Gelston, the collector.'
The second edition puts an end to all these shrewd conjectures, and leaves Fanny-with an indifferent shawl on—to music and a tear;' and her father-after being visited by the notary,' and taking a shilling's worth of Jupiter, through the showman's telescope,'—to Scudder and to Poetry. It is not surprising that a mere fancy-sketch, which, in its general lineaments, in its colouring, and its keeping, is so true to the collective features and characteristic expression of a large class, who are struggling for the reputation of having been admitted into the den of that mystical and equivocal " lion"—the first society, should have put curiosity on the alert, in search of a real original, and secured to conjecture the certainty of being mistaken. The father was
. A decent kind of person; one whose head
Was not of brains particularly full ;' Who had made and saved money in Chatham-street-moved to · Hanover-square'-gained consequence and self-importance-became bank and insurance director, philanthropist and politicianemployed all sorts of masters to teach Fanny all sorts of accomplishments—made presents of bivalve moluscas' to Dr. Mitchell-purchased a mansion in Broadway, to clear his “household coat from stain-set up a splendid equipage-gave magnificent parties-had the brokers for his friends, and stopp'd payment.'
• For two whole days they were the common talk ;
The party, and the failure, and all that,
Porter-house reasoning, and tea-table chat.
I pass'd their house-the shutters were all clos'd;
The song of knocker and of bell was over ;
Upon the steps two chimney-sweeps repos'd ;
And hope, and such cold unsubstantial dishes;
None knew. The curious reader, if he wishes,
From their own lips the world will never know,
Beyond all other mysteries here below,
'Tis proper and polite her name should end it;
Or moral can be trac'd, 'twas not intended;
I'm sorry for it—so is my bookseller.' Fanny, whether real or unreal, is quite indulgent to our poet's taste for episode, and permits him to ramble almost at will over our bustling city of Gotham, in pursuit of such flying vanities as may be shot at consistently with good nature.
With one or two exceptions, he has used the license with discretion, and has for the present left the tribe of graver phantoms undisturbed by the touch of his satirical wand. We shall leave them too, and conclude this article with the author's beautiful apostrophe to Weehawken-a picture that exhibits powers of description, an ease and sweetness of versification, and a poetic sensibility, which, if spread over a larger work, and applied to subjects less fleeting than the local and eyanescent follies of the day, would secure to their possessor that enviable reputation of taste and genius, which receives its stamp in the temple of the muses.
“Weehawken! In thy mountain scenery yet,
All we adore of nature in her wild
And never has a summer's morning smild
O’er crags, that proudly tower above the deep,
The breathless moment-when his daring step
And clings to the green turf with desperate korce,
As the heart clings to life ; and when resume
The currents in his veins their wonted course,
Ocean, and earth, and heaven, burst before him ;
Of Summer's sky, in beauty bending o'er him-
And banners floating in the sunny air ;
Green isle, and circling shore, are blended there,
Whose infant breath was drawn, or boyhood's days
That in his manhood's prime can calmly gaze
Art. I. Base du Systéme Mètrique Décimal, ou Mesure de l'Arc du Méridian entre les parallales de Dunkerque and Barcelone.
Exécutée par MM. Mechain et Delambre. Tome Premier. Paris. 4to. 1806.
[Edinburgh Review-Jan. 1807.]
It is remarkable that some of the clearest of our ideas are incapable of being accurately expressed by means of language, or of any arbitrary symbols whatsoever. This happens with respect to certain ideas of quantity, while with respect to others, not more clear or definite, the contrary takes place. Of the magnitude of a line, for instance, no precise notion can be conveyed in words from one man to another, except by comparing it with a line already known to them both; and if such a standard of comparison is wanting, the ordinary means of information fail entirely, and there is no resource but in the actual exhibition of the line itself. It is quite otherwise again, where either the ratio or the angular position of magnitudes are concerned : these can be fully explained by verbal communication, and never require the production of the objects themselves. We know what